Mistakes to Avoid
If you’ve never created a client profile before or it has never crossed your mind; you definitely will not be aware of the common mistakes people stumble across when sculpting their client profile. It’s important to try and avoid these mistakes as much as you can; but to do this, you need to know them. Here are 5 mistakes that are commonly made…
1. Creating an unrealistic client
A lot of the time, businesses try to be optimistic. But, is it any good being so optimistic that your client profile seems unrealistic? You must create a profile that is realistic; perhaps based upon existing clients. Creating a client profile that consists of unrealistic clients will undoubtedly set you up for failure, or expecting more from your clients which, in turn, will deter them.
2. Limiting your ideal client
This being said, you can’t limit your ideal client by regulating their interests, etc. harshly. For example, you can’t create an ideal client profile and make it so personal and specific that it only works for 10% of your audience. Your client profile needs to include a broad description that at least 99% of your audience can resemble and resonate with. It still needs to accurately represent your ideal clients behaviours, interests, and so on - without being too specific. Making it too specific means you’ll spend too long trying to find the perfect client, that you will have missed 10 actually perfect clients along the way.
3. Creating too many personas
For your business, it may be a case of having multiple client profiles, perhaps for your different services/products. If this is relevant to you, it’s important to remember that you must only create as many client profiles as you actually need. Your client profiles should outline all potential customer groups, not all potential customers overall.
4. Claiming that you’re a hero
When creating a client profile, you have to identify their pain points and how your business helps them. At this point, you can’t claim to be a hero as you’ll feel the repercussions when going about your marketing and sales. You need to be honest and certain with how you can help each specific client, which then assists your team when it comes to actually targeting these clients as you already know how you will benefit them.
5. Relying on your team to define your ideal client
Your team cannot simply define an ideal client on its own. Whilst your team have a good and fair input into who they’re trying to target; it’s important to remember that you must conduct research and/or analyse past information you’ve gained on clients or potential clients. You need to collect information and data on possible or past clients to assist you in the creation of your new ideal client.
A great technique in any form of marketing or promotion is to personalise what you’re giving your clients. Personalisation is good practice as it automatically makes people feel special and enables them to begin to feel a real connection to your brand. This connection is essential in beginning the customer lifecycle and hopefully earning more clients. With client profiles, you can easily personalise your marketing efforts as you are aware of different groups of people and know exactly how they work and what will benefit them.
Creating content is a huge part of any marketing campaign or strategy. It’s all about creating content that is engaging, interesting and that you know your ideal clients will enjoy. Knowing who your ideal clients are makes this content creation that little bit easier as you know what their interests are, and so on. You’ll know exactly how to effectively target them.
Producing ideal client profiles already marks the beginning of segmenting your audience. Once you’ve created your profiles, it’s important to segment any lists you’ve got (e.g. email subscribers) or segmenting any audience you see fit. You can then target these segmented audiences much more specifically and give each group what they want. Segmentation is the easiest way of targeting people in the correct way and knowing what that group of people are interested in.
When researching into your ideal clients, you may not have done keyword research. Once your client profiles are finalised, it’s important to do some research into the type of keywords your ideal clients are using to find businesses similar to yours. You can then use these keywords in blogs, articles, your website content, landing pages, and so on, to be found easily by your ideal client. This is called search engine optimisation. SEO is the activity in which you’re optimising your website/content in hopes to get ranked higher, and found more easily by the people who matter.
Knowing your ideal client will allow you to begin to construct your sales process and personalise it more for your ideal clients. Constructing a sales process personalised to your ideal clients enables your business to see the route/s they should be going down and how your team can assist them in progressing further down the funnel. All of this information will help your team understand when elements to a sales process are necessary (e.g. when a proposal is necessary, if they need more information, etc).
How to Create an Ideal Client Profile
An ideal client profile needs to be based upon research, data, your teams knowledge, and anything else your team deem relevant to your ideal client. The goal of creating this ideal client profile is to have a profile that represents your best possible client. So, how do you create one?
Make a list of your best clients
If your business has existing clients, it’s a lot easier to begin creating an ideal client profile. Existing clients give you data such as what they enjoy, what engages them, their interests, and so on. There are questions you should ask the team about any existing clients…
Which clients have been with you within the range of your average client lifespan?
Does the client delay feedback, or do they provide it promptly?
Do you like working with the client?
Is the work fulfilling?
Do you provide a high ROI delivering the services requested by the client?
By answering these questions you’ve completely explored your clients and you know everything there is to know about them. This further assists you in knowing what should go into your ideal client profile and how you should define them; from their personality right through to how they go about the sales process.
Conduct client interviews
Interviews are one of the easiest ways to compile information about people. Asking clients questions will enable you and your team to know them to the fullest extent, which in turn allows you to create ideal client profiles from the answers you gained.
Answers from clients offer you a real insight into who they are, why they chose you, what got their attention, what they do, how they approach businesses, and so on. From these insights to your existing clients lives, you can create an overall client profile for future prospective clients. Here are just some questions you could ask…
1. Decision maker information
What is your role?
How long have you been at the company?
How long were you employed at your previous role?
What skills are required to do your job?
What tools do you use in your job?
What does a typical day look like?
2. Company data
What industry are you in?
What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?
Where are you located?
What does your sales cycle look like?
3. Goals and challenges
What are your job responsibilities and priorities?
How is your job measured?
What does it mean to be successful in your role?
What are your biggest challenges?
4. Information search process
Do you belong to any groups or associations?
What social networks do you use and how do you use them?
Do you search for a company on Google? If so, what keywords do you use?
Do you use an agency search firm or an online database?
How do you handle conflict?
Do you like to work independently or in a group?
What style of communication works best for you?
During the sales process, what points about our firm made you hesitant to work with us?
Where did you turn to find out information about us from other sources?
7. Purchasing decisions
Why did you decide to work with us?
What did the decision process look like for your team?
How are we unique from other companies you have worked with?
What are three important qualities you look for in a company?
Compile all information and create the profiles
Obviously, the last, and most important, step is the actual creation of the profiles. At this point you must compile all the answers you’ve gained from interviews, research, existing information sources and so on. All of this information must go into one client profile that summarises your best ideal client. You must create a profile that outlines that following:
Challenges, and how you can help solve these
All of these factors need to be assessed and included within your ideal client profile in order to get a clear and specific view of who your ideal client is.